Facebook ads are a great way to get your book noticed by a large number of your ideal readers, quickly and with relative ease. But they’re also a good way to lose quite a bit of money if they’re not executed correctly. In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes Facebook ads so effective, and why you should consider using them. We’ve also included a downloadable “quick-start” guide to Facebook ads at the end of the article.

Your ideal readers are on Facebook – guaranteed

At the time of writing, Facebook has over 1.3 billion active users daily, from across the world – so the odds are that at least some of your ideal readers have accounts! Best of all, the vast majority of them have told Facebook what their interests are, the titles of their favourite books, and so on.

Facebook has also bought proprietary statistical data and factored that into their algorithm. This is a fancy way of saying that they know who will be most likely to click on your ads, once you’ve told them who you are trying the reach.

Start taking advantage of Facebook ads now!

Download our FREE Facebook ads quick-start guide and get started with Facebook ads today.

Finding your ideal readers

With 1.3 billion users to choose from, it may feel a little daunting to decide who should be in the audience for your ads. The market is massive, so let’s pause for a second to explore two core principles of selling and marketing that will help you figure it all out.

(1) What “problem” does a novel solve?

In order to sell any product effectively, we need to look at what problem it solves. In other words, what does the person buying it (who is known as “the prospect”) want to get out of your novel? The answer, for genre fiction in particular, is simple: they want to be entertained. So the problem you are solving? Boredom.

(2) Not everyone is ready to buy right away

Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of “prospects” (the potential buyers of your product): the oblivious, the afflicted, and the informed. In the context of book marketing, these can be defined as follows:

  • “Oblivious prospects” are not particularly bored, but they have told Facebook that they like reading a particular genre, or books by a specific author.
  • “Afflicted prospects” are bored while they scroll through Facebook. They, too, have told Facebook what genres and authors they like. They don’t have a particular solution for their boredom in mind, though.
  • “Informed prospects” know exactly what they want. They may be browsing Facebook before opening a new tab on their browser for Amazon to find their next book. Like the other two kinds of prospects, they’ve told Facebook what genres and authors they like to read.

So, what is the common factor among these prospects? They all like to read books in certain genres or by particular authors, and they have shared that information with Facebook. It is now up to you to leverage that treasure trove of data that Facebook holds, and use it to market your book.

The painful truth about paid advertising

By now you may be saying, “Great, let’s sell to the informed prospects! How do I do that?” Before you jump right in, keep in mind that these sorts of high value prospects are very hard to pin down and sell to, as they satisfy their need very quickly. They know what they want, so they don’t hesitate to get it, so they may not be “in the market” for your product for very long. It is also impossible to actually seek these people out directly. Advertising is a numbers game: you put your advert in front of as many people as possible in the hope that some may find it interesting enough to take action.

Studies have found that people only buy something if they have come into contact with it at least seven times. You need to stay top of mind in order to spark the interest of a prospect and win their trust. This is beginning to sound expensive, right? It doesn’t have to be.

Why Facebook ads are so great

There are three main reasons:

  • They are relatively cheap (for now): Facebook ads work on a bid system (like Google), so the more people competing for a particular audience, the more expensive the bids will become. For example, you could get clicks for mere cents back in the early 2000s with Google ads, but today you have to spend a lot more than that. This is because so many more businesses and individuals are utilizing Google ads and competing for space at the top of search results lists. Facebook ads are still relatively cheap, as there isn’t a huge amount of people advertising on this platform yet. The Facebook newsfeed (which is the most effective place to send you adverts) was implemented in 2012, and some experts warn that Facebook is actually running out of space to put ads. This will drive the cost up significantly, so jump on the bandwagon now – before they go the way of Google ads.
  • They are highly targeted: Remember that treasure trove of data we mentioned earlier? If you tap into this correctly, you can make sure your ads are shown only to those prospects who have said they like what you are selling. See our downloadable strategy guide for more on this.
  • They can seem serendipitous: Imagine the scenario: you are just idly scrolling through your Facebook feed and, like magic, a sponsored post appears telling you about something you really like. The most important thing to remember about Facebook is that people don’t go there looking for things to buy – but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to buy things. That’s why Facebook has made sure they can give you all of the tools you need to make your ads seem less like ads and more like posts.

What about Google, Goodreads or Amazon ads?

These are all examples of “search advertising”. We will be doing articles on using Amazon and Goodreads ads soon. Google ads are just too expensive and, frankly, potential buyers usually search for new books by going straight to Amazon, not doing a Google search, so they’re not really appropriate for trying to sell your books.

So how do Facebook ads differ? Facebook ads are paid social ads, not search ads. Here is a useful definition of the difference from this article on Wordstream.com:

“[P]aid search helps prospective customers find your business, while paid social helps your business find prospective customers.”

In other words, paid social is a more proactive form of marketing your book – you’ll be presenting your product to potential customers, and not waiting around for them to come looking for you.

One last reason to consider using Facebook ads

Facebook as a platform is maturing, and so the content getting shared on it is increasing exponentially year-on-year. As a result, Facebook users don’t automatically see absolutely everything that is shared or posted by their friends or the pages that they like. In other words, there is less chance that your Facebook page posts will appear on your fans’ newsfeeds without being intentionally shared and liked by others, or being boosted through a paid ad. This is a symptom of how popular the site has become, and it’s the cost of doing business on Facebook.

If you want to read more about the decline in organic reach on Facebook, take a look at this article by Brian Boland, who leads the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook.

Start taking advantage of Facebook ads now!

Download our FREE Facebook ads quick-start guide and get started with Facebook ads today.